I sure wish I’d have done this before the Mercury transit, but there’s still no promise that itty-bitty Mercury would have been seen. But I do know that the camera will be ready for next year’s eclipse.
Yes I made my own filter, more on that in a bit.
First the camera is an entry level Panasonic Lumix G5, the rear touch screen swings out and rotates. I don’t have to squint while pointing into the sun. It’s mounted on a tripod with a remote shutter release.
There is more than one way to protect the camera for solar photography, the easiest (and most expensive) is to buy a solar filter. I have a 52 mm threaded lens and Amazon would be happy to sell a Thousands Oaks filter for over $50. Thousand Oaks is one of the top names in the business, and it’s worth it not to scrimp, the optics in even my entry level camera are well over $50!
But Thousands Oaks also sells their solar film in sheets. A 4x4" sheet is still under $10, but up 25% from my purchase. Thousand Oaks also includes instructions, but the modification I have done I have not seen documented elsewhere. Here goes:
The solar glasses are from the 2012 Bryce Ring-of-Fire, a bit of eye protection in case I screw up!
Bryce Canyon put on a spectacular show for the 2012 event, and continues to put on a great 'sky show' the first weekend in June.
In the black packing foam I cut a snug fit for the camera's sun shade. To that I glued a sheet of cardboard supplied by Thousand Oaks. I glued the solar film and another sheet of cardboard to sandwich it all together, also supplied by Thousand Oaks.
Don’t wait to the last minute to decide if to take a picture. Holding the solar glasses over Fran’s Sony has poor results and could damage the optics. Don’t try this at home! (Photo for display only – and don’t tell Fran!)
Whew – her camera survived! But the results are crap.
The G5 is totally electronic, so I let it decide on the settings, and a 10 second exposure is too long a couple tenths is closer but washed out.
I can fiddle with the ISO setting but not the shutter speed. This is not a bad result, but I need to read more of the fine manual (is that RTFM?). The settings will need constant adjustment and I’m not a pro! It would be nice if the camera could do the compensation
These settings will need to change as the eclipse develops. Any thoughts?
I know there are at least a few pros out there who occasionally read this blog and I know one who also has a Panasonic .... Your thoughts please!
I’ll have lots of various sunlight conditions to work with in Alaska … if we ever get out of San Diego! Looks like we’ll end up only 10 days late, that’ll change the route north to Tacoma – but not much else. I might post on that next week – The sites on 395 that we’ll miss most … or something like that. Which leads to the question what are your favorite 395 sites?
BTW – the stitches are out in time to watch Aj run the anchor leg of the finals in the 400 meter relay. And I felt down-right formal in real Keen sandals at Kg’s concert last night!
Where will you be August 21 2017?